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Advance Health Care Directives 101

How To Revoke Or Amend A Living Will, Healthcare Power Of Attorney Or DNR (Advance Directives)

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This discussion is divided into amendment (changing what is in a document), revocation (terminating it) and who to inform about an amendment or revocation.


If you want to amend an Advance Directive, do it with the same formality as required in the state to execute the document. For instance, if two witnesses are required, write your amendment on the document in ink, sign next to the change and have the witnesses sign their names as well.

Make sure you amend each copy - not just one. Because of this, it may be easier just to go ahead and execute new Directives.

NOTE: It is advisable to execute your documents in front of a notary public even if not required by the laws of the state in which you reside. While most states do not require notarization of Living Wills, there are some states which require notarization to make them effective. If you execute your document in front of a notary, you are covered in case you are traveling and something happens in another state 


You can revoke an Advance Directive just by ripping-up each copy. Alternatively, you can cross out the substance in each copy, add the date, and sign it.

Inform The People Who Have A Copy Of Each Document. Send an email.

Let each person who has a copy of the directive know you have changed or revoked it. If you have amended a document, give them a copy of the amended document. Preferably also e-mail each person so there is a paper trail if it is ever needed.

It will also be helpful to let people who know about your wishes, but don't have a copy of the documents.

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